Government of North Korea
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
In the government of North Korea, the cabinet is the administrative and executive body. The North Korean government consists of three branches: administrative, legislative, and judicial. However, they are not independent of each other.
The government is also confirmed by the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA). The SPA chooses a Premier, who appoints three Vice Premiers and the government's ministers. The government is dominated by the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) and has been since North Korea's inception in 1948.
The Cabinet now has the right to supervise and control the Local People's Committee (LPC) with regard to local economies and administration. As the State Administrative Council (SAC) was replaced by the Cabinet, the Local Administrative and Economic Committee (LAEC) was abolished and its functions regarding local politics transferred to the LPC.
A party chief secretary no longer concurrently holds the post of LPC chairman Hyun Seo-yeo, which has been taken over by a former LAEC chairman. Thus, the LPC is theoretically independent of the local party and is under the control of the Cabinet. The status of the LPC as the local executive organ, in principle, became higher than before.
North Korea's judiciary is headed by the Central Court of North Korea, which consists of a Chief Justice and two People's Assessors; three judges may be present in some cases. Their terms of office coincide with those of the members of the Supreme People's Assembly. Every court in North Korea has the same composition as the Central Court. The judicial system is theoretically held accountable to the SPA and the Presidium of the SPA when the legislature is not in session.
The judiciary does not practice judicial review. The security forces so often interfere with the actions of the judiciary that the conclusion of most cases is foregone; experts outside North Korea and numerous defectors confirm this to be a widespread problem. Freedom House states that, "North Korea does not have an independent judiciary and does not acknowledge individual rights...reports of arbitrary detentions, 'disappearances,' and extrajudicial killings are common; torture is widespread and severe"
North Korea's fifth and current constitution was approved and adopted in September 1998, replacing the one previously adopted in 1972. The former constitution had last been amended in 1992. Under the new constitution, North Korea is a socialist state representing the interests of all the Korean people. Criminal penalties can be stiff; one of the basic functions of the system is to uphold the power of the regime. Because so little information is available concerning what actually occurs inside of the country, the extent to which there is any rule of law is uncertain. In any case, North Korea is known for its poor human rights situation and regularly detains thousands of dissidents without trial or benefit of legal advice. According to a US Department of State report on human rights practices, the government of North Korea often punishes the family of a criminal along with the perpetrator.
Workers' Party of Korea
The Workers' Party of Korea is organized according to the Monolithic Ideological System and the Great Leader, a system and theory conceived by Kim Yong-ju and Kim Jong-il. The highest body of the WPK is formally the Congress; however, a congress has not been convened since the 6th in 1980. Although the WPK is (in theory) organizationally similar to communist parties, in practice it is far less institutionalized and informal politics plays a larger role than usual. Institutions such as the Central Committee, the Secretariat, the Central Military Commission (CMC), the Politburo and the Presidium have much less power than that formally bestowed on them by the party's charter. Kim Jong-un is the current WPK leader, serving as First Secretary and CMC chairman.
- First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea: Kim Jong-un
- Chairman of the Central Military Commission: Kim Jong-un
National Defense Commission
In June 2010, Kim appointed his uncle (by marriage), Chang Sung-taek, as vice-chairman of the NDC, in a move seen as propping his own position. Chang was already regarded as the second-most powerful person in North Korea and his appointment strengthened the probability that Kim's third son, Kim Jong-un, would succeed him. However, in December 2013 Chang was fired from all government posts and subsequently executed. Kim Jong Un ordered for his uncle to be executed.
Eternal President: Kim Il-sung
Supreme Leader: Kim Jong-un
National Defence Commission of DPRK
- First Chairman: Kim Jong-un
- Vice Chairmen:
- Members of the Commission:
- General of the Army Pak Yong-sik, Minister of the People's Armed Forces
- WPK Secretary for Military Industry Pak To-chun
- General of the Army Kim Won-hong, Minister of State Security
- General of the Army Choe Pu-il, Minister of People's Security
- General of the Army Ri Pyong-chol, Vice Chief of General Staff
- Jo Chun-ryong, Director of WPK Machine-Building Industry Department
Presidium of the SPA of the DPRK
- President: Kim Yong-nam
- Vice presidents: Yang Hyong Sop and Kim Yong Dae
- Honorary vice-president: Kim Yong Ju, and Choe Yong Rim (since April 2013)
- Secretary general of the Presidium: Hong Son Ok (since April 2013)
Supreme People's Assembly
- Premier: Pak Pong Ju (April 2013)
- Vice Premiers: Ro Tu Chol (from April 2009), Ri Mu Yong (April 2014), Kim Yong Jin (April 2014), Ri Chol Man (since April 2012), Kim Tok Hun (April 2014)
- Minister of Foreign Affairs: Ri Su Yong (April 2014)
- Minister of Finance: Choe Kwang Jin
WPK Central Committee (September 2010-May 2016)
- Eternal General Secretary: Kim Jong-il
- First secretary of the WPK: Kim Jong-un
- Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Workers' Party of Korea Central Committee (since September 2010):
- Members and Alternate Members of Political Bureau (September 2010):
Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un (2012), Kim Yong-nam, Jo Myong Rok, Ri Yong Ho, Choe Yong Rim, Choe Ryong Hae, Kim Yong Chun, Jon Pyong Ho, Kim Kuk-thae, Kim Ki Nam, Choe Thae-bok, Yang Hyong Sop, Kang Sok Ju, Pyon Yong Rip, Ri Yong Mu, Ju Sang Song, Hong Sok Hyongand Kim Kyong Hui, and since April 2012: Kim Jong-gak, Jang Song-thaek, Pak To Chun, Hyon Chol Hae, Kim Won Hong, Ri Myong-su, and March 2013: Pak Pong Ju, February 2015: Hwang Pyong-so (members), Kim Yang Gon, Kim Yong Il, Ju Kyu Chang, Ri Thae Nam, Kim Rak Hui, Thae Jong Su, Kim Phyong Hae, U Tong Chuk, Kim Jong-gak, Pak Jong Sun, Kim Chang Sop and Mun Kyong Dokand since April 2012: Kwak Pom Gi, O Kuk Ryol, Ro Tu Chol, Ri Pyong Sam and Jo Yon Jun and March 2013:, Hyon Yong Chol, Kim Kyok Sikand Choe Pu Il, and April 2014 O Su Yong, Ri Yong-gil(alternate members)
- Secretariat of WPK Central Committee (September 2010):
Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un (2012), Kim Ki Nam, Choe Thae-bok, Choe Ryong Hae, Mun Kyong Dok, Pak To Chun, Kim Yong Il, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Phyong Hae, Thae Jong Su, Hong Sok-hyongand April 2012: Kim Kyong Hui and Kwak Pom Gi, Kang Sok Ju (April 2014), O Su Yong (April 2014), Vice Marshal Hwang Pyong So, An Jong Su, Kim Su Gil (April 2014 ?)
- Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea: Chairman Kim Jong-un (since 2012), Vice Chairmen Choe Ryong Hae - Vice Marshal and
Hyon Yong-chol- Vice Marshal (since 2012), Hwang Pyong-so (since 2014), Members Kim Yong Chun - Vice Marshal, Kim Jong Gak- Vice Marshal, Kim Myong Guk, Kim Kyong Ok, Kim Won Hong, Jong Myong Do, Ri Pyong Chol, Choe Pu Il, Kim Yong Chol, Yun Jong Rin, Ju Kyu Chang, Choe Sang Ryo, Choe Kyong Song, U Tong Chuk, Jang Song Thaek, and since April 2012: Hyon Chol Hae - Vice Marshal, Ri Myong Su and Kim Rak Gyom, February 2013: Kim Kyok Sik, Ri Yong Gil.
7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea:
- Presidium of the Political Bureau: Kim Jong Un, Kim Yong Nam, Hwang Pyong So, Pak Pong Ju and Choe Ryong Hae
- Members of the Political Bureau: Kim Jong Un, Kim Yong Nam, Hwang Pyong So, Pak Pong Ju, Choe Ryong Hae, Kim Ki Nam, Choe Thae Bok, Ri Su Yong, Kim Phyong Hae, O Su Yong, Kwak Pom Gi, Kim Yong Chol, Ri Man Gon, Yang Hyong Sop, Ro Tu Chol, Pak Yong Sik, Ri Myong Su, Kim Won Hong and Choe Pu Il. Alternate Members of the Political Bureau: Kim Su Gil, Kim Nung O, Pak Thae Song, Ri Yong Ho, Im Chol Ung, Jo Yon Jun, Ri Pyong Chol, No Kwang Chol and Ri Yong Gil
- Executive Policy Bureau of the Party Central Committee:
- Chairman of the WPK: Kim Jong Un
- Vice-Chairmen of the Party Central Committee: Choe Ryong Hae, Kim Ki Nam, Choe Thae Bok, Ri Su Yong, Kim Phyong Hae, O Su Yong, Kwak Pom Gi, Kim Yong Chol and Ri Man Gon
- Central Military Commission:
- Chairman: Kim Jong Un
- Members: Hwang Pyong So, Pak Pong Ju, Pak Yong Sik, Ri Myong Su, Kim Yong Chol, Ri Man Gon, Kim Won Hong, Choe Pu Il, Kim Kyong Ok, Ri Yong Gil and So Hong Chan
- Department Directors of the C.C., the WPK: Kim Ki Nam, Ri Su Yong, Kim Phyong Hae, O Su Yong, Kim Yong Chol, Ri Man Gon, Ri Il Hwan, An Jong Su, Ri Chol Man, Choe Sang Gon, Ri Yong Rae, Kim Jong Im, Kim Jung Hyop, Kim Man Song and Kim Yong Su
- Chairman of the Control Commission of the Party Central Committee: Hong In Bom
- "North Korea names Kim Jong-un army commander". BBC News. 2011-12-31.
- Teen Life in Asia By Judith J. Slater
- "S.Korea Outranks U.S. in Democracy Index". Chosun Ilbo. 2013-03-22. Retrieved 2013-04-15.
- "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices". U.S. Department of State. March 8, 2006. Retrieved 2006-02-22.
- "Freedom in the World, 2006". Freedom House. Retrieved 2007-02-13.
- Teen Life in Asia By Judith J. Slate
- Fading Kim sets the stage for power play, Donald Kirk, SCMP, 11 June 2010
- "North Korea executes Kim Jong Un's uncle". Associated Press. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2013.